Somehow I managed to make it out of middle school and high school without ever having read "The Lottery". Or Lord of the Flies. I know, right? (And a side note: "The Lottery" is really amazing. The other stories in that collection are fair. Just fair.) My point is, that while I was aware of Shirley Jackson, I hadn't actually read anything she'd written. But then, wonder of wonders! My friend Dan, who is some kind of genius with book recommendations, told me to give We Have Always Lived a whirl. He thought it'd be right up my alley. (I'm using italics because I'm almost certain it's a quote. Almost.) What with the extreme sistering and all.
And it was. It was right up my alley. So up my alley that I made Catherine read it. And it was up her alley too. And while I may have mentioned it to Monika, I don't know if my mention conveyed my admiration for this book. As I know I've mentioned before, probably my all-time favorite opening paragraph is from We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.
Le sigh. I'd step into this book in a heartbeat...if only such a thing were possible. My point, if I have one, is that you should pick up this book. Also, Monika: I found you a used copy and will be mailing it out posthaste. You lucky duck, you.
Please, please read it so we can trade quotes like:
Jonas and I dislike rhubarb.
On the moon we have everything.
I thought of using digitalis as my third magic word, but it was too easy for someone to say, and at last I decided on Pegasus.
And Monika, if you read it and don't love it: I'll straight up kill you.
For more truly intriguing covers from We Have Always Lived in the Castle, go here.